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Preceptorship for Free???

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  • Preceptorship for Free???

    I'm an IM hospitalist and recently reached out to the local medical school regarding joining faculty at the encouragement of some of my co-workers because I enjoy teaching in addition to my clinical responsibilities. I have previously worked with pre-medical students and, while I enjoyed elements of the teaching style, didn't enjoy it as much as I had previously enjoyed teaching medical students as a resident, largely because of the necessity for increased simplification inherent in teaching pre-med students instead medical students. As a community medicine doc, I do miss elements of the academic camraderie found amongst academic medical teams although I do not envision myself ever going into full-time academia and the bureaucratic headaches inherent there.

    I have recently learned I have been appointed as an assistant professor for internal medicine at the local medical school (I had submitted information inquiring about the process and never heard anything for 3 months until I received an email notifying me of my appointment). The catch is they want me to precept M3 and M4 students on the wards for free (I would not be receiving any compensation whatsoever from the university). Per discussion with co-workers, the medical school previously gave a nominal stipend for preceptors of $1,000/month but apparently no longer. The PA school apparently gives their preceptors $800/month but I had held off on that because I'm primarily interested in working with physicians rather than PAs.

    As previously stated, I have volunteered to host pre-medical students for shadowing from my alma mater for free but that's only for 2 weeks out of the year and I view that as giving back to my alma mater. This feels differently as I would be essentially working for free for a medical school that charges $50,000/year in tuition and that rankles me. As an early career physician, I had thought this would look nice on my CV and help set me apart whenever I pursue my next job but now I'm having second thoughts. I see essentially 3 pathways forward:

    1) Accept and precept students full-time without getting paid. This adds the CV value of being a preceptor/professor and the enjoyment of teaching but seems to fully sell out other MDs because why would they ever pay clinical faculty at our community hospital if they can get a supply of clinical docs to precept for free.

    2) Accept and precept students but only a few weeks/year. This adds the CV value from Option Home but feels less like a sell-out/disrespected as I'd only be precepting for a fraction of my time

    3) Reject their offer with a "thanks but no thanks." This loses the CV value and the potential enjoyment of teaching but at least I would have the feeling of not selling out my colleagues/allowing myself to be disrespected.

    I suppose I'm leaning towards Option Forum to try it out for the short term as I do have some interest in teaching but I would be lying if I didn't say there's an ember that burns inside feeling like, once again, doctors are getting taken advantage/somewhat willingly letting themselve get taken advantage of of while education administrators (just like hospital administrators) are reaping the financial rewards of physicians' hard work.

  • #2
    I wonder if the Vice Dean of Medical Astrology and Emotional Support Animal Verification works for free?

    Here's another option. Find a Hospitalist position in a community hospital with a residency program. I worked in such a hospital for many years. It seems like it could be the sweet spot for you professionally.

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    • #3
      Personally, I’d decline to work for free for a med school that charges $50,000/year. That $100K that the school collects in the students 3rd and 4th year when they aren’t in the classroom is going somewhere, and some of it might as well go to you.

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      • #4
        If you are not looking to go into a career in academics, then Assistant Professor on your CV won’t help you with future jobs - but leadership positions and/or collateral duties where you currently work might.

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        • #5
          The only thing you need on your CV is MD.

          Do it if you want to teach. That is what I do. I do not get paid. I get access to some free events for CME but I do it because I enjoy teaching.

          Sometimes...

          "Show me a med student that only triples my work, and I'll kiss his feet."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HikingDO View Post
            Personally, I’d decline to work for free for a med school that charges $50,000/year. That $100K that the school collects in the students 3rd and 4th year when they aren’t in the classroom is going somewhere, and some of it might as well go to you.
            where does the $$ in 3rd/4th year? Whats the overhead?

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            • #7
              I struggled with this as well but I am on the outpatient side. The local MD medical school in town does not compensate preceptors but I do enjoy teaching. My solution was that I am content with is your option Forum I have M1 students a few afternoons per quarter and usually 1 to 2 M3 students for 2 weeks per quarter. It slows me down slightly but I feel that I am giving back.

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              • #8
                "As an early career physician, I had thought this would look nice on my CV and help set me apart whenever I pursue my next job but now I'm having second thoughts." Questionable value.
                It has not even a token compensation.
                You say you would never go the academic route, so that doesn't even demonstrate interest or CV value.
                You already demonstrated "civic activities"
                Do you need more? I don't see how donating more uncompensated time makes you more attractive for a future employer. Simply willing to work for free.



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                • #9
                  You're not a preceptor or professor, you're a volunteer.

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                  • #10
                    Good points all. Still fleshing things out but appreciate the input to be certain.

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